My Reflections from an IMAGO “Keeping” Workshop

Dedicated to the “Pam” (Self) in us all.

This past weekend I was given the privilege of attending an “IMAGO: Keeping The Love You Find” Workshop created by acclaimed Marriage Therapist Harville Hendrix. It was my second experience, and I was fortunate to do the work with a group of fantastic, brave, open-minded and most importantly open-hearted strangers.

To describe the growth and healing work done in the workshop would be a disservice to anyone wanting to take on this experience for themselves, but I thought:
a) as a wrap-up for me
b) for anyone curious about the magic that can come from attending such a workshop
it would be a good experience to write a small blurb about the few important personal messages I received in my reflection.

1. The journey towards healing yourself is all about healing the relationship with your SELF. It’s about YOU and no one else. The more you not only learn about, accept and acknowledge, but embrace and honour the disowned and denied parts of your Self, the more you welcome the opportunity to step into and enjoy who you truly are.

We humans stress a lot about the quality of our relationships with others, while expecting our relationship with our Self’s carry on unmanaged. More devastatingly, we may not even acknowledge that our Self is there with us yearning for our love, affection and attention.

It seems like a silly concept if we really think about it. This is the relationship we bring with us everywhere that we go. Why is it not a huge priority for us to nurture and embrace it? How do we expect to have healthy intimacy with others when we struggle to respect and love the eyes that look back at us in every mirror?

2. The more you step in to who you really are, the more you can embrace those parts of you that cause you so much distress.

What I noticed and admired of all the participants in my workshop (which I would have to assume sets them apart from those who would not be willing to attend a growth workshop) would be that they ALL had in some way owned and stepped in to positive relationships with their true Self’s. They could tell me about specific things they had interest in and passion for. They could rave about things they enjoyed or recommended. They had given judicious thought to their opinions on different situations life had thrown their way. They had experienced pain and still found ways that they liked to play in this world.

How often do we hear someone talk about “we” when referring to their shared interests and opinions with their partner. “We love that restaurant.” or “We really enjoy relaxing and watching that show.” Couples with cultivated intimacy have found a lot of experiences they enjoy doing together to keep that relationship healthy and nurtured. What about the “we” between you and your Self? What do you like do to keep that intimacy bond strong?

As I listened to these lovely people rave about what they enjoyed I was very aware that they were all already on the journey to embracing that important “we relationship”. They found ways to embrace their uniqueness and with that comes less and less pressure to deny and disown, and more opportunity for light to enter and fill up “their cup”.

3. Healing your relationship with you may result in challenging changes to your relationships with others. In my heart I feel that knowing not only your own value, but what you value and being unabashed at any given time to own and cultivate whatever that is can lead to true joy. Unfortunately, it may come with the consequence of change and loss to the relationships you share with others. Being aware of this in advance may not make the changes less painful, but it can bring with it more understanding toward the effectiveness of the healing process. It’s about putting the trust in the universe that if you are brave enough to improve your relationship with your Self you will be provided with the right external relationships to support you in your journey.

There is no question among people who “do the work” that growth work comes with a lot of challenges. In my own experience, one of the biggest continues to be surrendering to the changing dynamics of the relationships I have surrounded my Self with and placed enphasis on. It’s scary and hard to allow the Self to change and grow when your current relationships “thrival” may demand that your Self stay the same.

Trusting in the process, letting go of control, and allowing more elasisity to your current relationships creates less pressure, and also allows room for new. It doesn’t make the loss and resistance any easier to bare, but faith in your more whole Self attracting more fulfilling relationships is an important message to receive and believe. The option is always available for them to grow with you if they choose.

4. Intentional growth is something to be very proud of. Being willing to take a look inside. Being willing to change. Being willing to accept hard truths. Being willing to take risks and come out of your shell or slow down your inner tornado. Being willing to experience and learn to sit with uncomfortable feelings. These are all things to move towards with curiosity, and be very proud of your Self for.

5. Most simply and importantly: you are not alone in your hurts, fears, hard feelings and desires when it comes to getting the love you want. Allowing your Self to even believe love is possible in todays society and being willing to take a look inside and do the work to try and find it is worth all of the praise and admiration in the world.

Ultimately for me, this workshop reinforced that life is one a big journey, and healing one large process there for the taking. When you begin to heal, you begin to change, and your world will change in turn. It can be scary, it can hurt, it can leave you with many feelings of resistance, and it can make you want to return to your old-unconscious way of being.

You never need to keep opening doors, to keep entering new levels, the choice is always yours. But, if you can view your life as a class that you are privileged to attend with one big sense of curiosity you may find that stepping in to that fear is worth the struggles because with it comes so much beauty and joy. This is your life. It is a gift. You are a gift. Regardless of who else is in your life, your Self will be good company on your journey if you don’t abandon. Enjoy it, and give your Self the honour of making the most out of it.

Don’t be afraid to really enjoy your Self. You are enough.

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